A Student of History

February 24, 2007

Lock, Stock, and Barrel

Filed under: Wars — John Maass @ 6:25 pm


Lock, Stock, and Barrel:

The World of the Revolutionary War Soldier

March 31, 2007

Valley Forge Hilton/Valley Forge National Park

            Join us for a unique and captivating look at the life and culture of the soldier of the American Revolution at a very special series of presentations aimed at historians, students, historic site staff, teachers, volunteers, reenactors and all others with an interest in America’s past. The full-day program brings together some of the nation’s leading Revolutionary War authorities to discuss a variety of aspects of the conflict including artifacts, campaigns, and army life.

          The event promises to be a memorable and enjoyable gathering rich in insights and content. Sponsored by the Second Pennsylvania Regiment, Valley Forge National Historical Park, and the Friends of Valley Forge, this event offers programming to fit everyone’s area of interest. Participants can select three presentations offered during the day at the Valley Forge Hilton in King of Prussia, Pa., and then adjourn for a final presentation by renowned author Thomas Fleming at nearby Valley Forge National Park. The day concludes with a cocktail reception at the park’s Welcome Center. A buffet lunch is also included for participants at the Hilton as well as a “Sutlers Market” featuring a number of merchants selling unique crafts and military reproductions. Also, early arrivals are invited to attend a Friday evening reception hosted by park superintendent Mike Caldwell from 7-9 p.m. at the Welcome Center.

          The festivities continue with special programs at Valley Forge National Park on Sunday, April 1, marking the site’s 30th anniversary as part of the national park system. All Sunday events are free and open to the public. A schedule can be seen at www.nps.gov/vafo .

          REGISTRATION for Lock, Stock, and Barrel is only $75 per person and can be made on-line by visiting the Friends of Valley Forge website at http://www.friendsofvalleyforge.org. (or by the mail in registration form and returning by mail). All registrations must be made no later than March 10. An exceptional room rate of $79 per night is available to participants at the Valley Forge Hilton (610/337-1200).

 Schedule, Topics and Speakers

FRIDAY, MARCH 30 (Valley Forge National Park)

            7-9 p.m.: Welcome Reception for early arrivals hosted by Valley Forge National Park superintendent Mike Caldwell at the park’s Welcome Center.

SATURDAY, MARCH 31 (Valley Forge Hilton)

            8:30-9:30 a.m.: Registration opens at Hilton. Participant pick-up of information packets and seminar tickets in the lobby.

            8:30-a.m.-3:30 p.m.: Sutlers Market opens to participants.

            9:30-10:30 a.m.: SESSION I (choose one)

                        A. Martial Treasures from Colonial Williamsburg. Arms authority and Williamsburg curator Eric Goldstein takes a look at selected highlights of the site’s world famous militaria collection and how they help us understand the life of the colonial soldier, from firelocks to belt plates.

                        B. Being an Effective Friends Group. Cinda Welbeusser, Pennsylvania Director of the NPS Conservation Assoc., moderates this panel of volunteer leaders that include Barbara Finfrock (Friends of Gettysburg Park), Mike Caldwell (Valley Forge National Park Superintendent), and others to discuss the challenges that face groups supporting historic sites and ways they might make a positive difference. Special tables reserved for participants at lunch will encourage further conversation and an opportunity to build new bridges and friendships.

                        C. The Philadelphia Campaign. Historian, author and educator Tom McGuire follows up his acclaimed books on the battles of Brandywine, Paoli and Germantown with an in-depth look at the events leading to the British seizure of the young nation’s capital, filled with little known facts and reminiscences from actual participants.

            10:45-11:45 a.m.: SESSION II (choose one)

                        D. Following the Army. Dr. Holly Mayer reveals the highly misunderstood world of the many civilian adults and children who were a constant and critically important part of both the British and Patriot armies. Wagoners, clerks, laundresses, sutlers, soldiers’ wives and more are brought to life in this fascinating glimpse at the least known players in the conflict.

                        E. Rochambeau’s Army. A former senior curator with Canada’s National Historic Sites, consultant and veteran military historian, Rene Chartrand presents a colorful and in-depth look at the force that arrived in America to back up French support for the revolution and secure its successful conclusion.

                        F. Painting the Revolutionary War Soldier. The nation’s most celebrated living historical artist, author and antiquarian Don Troiani discusses the process required to paint the 18th Century military, from single figures to massive battle scenes. The artist will describe the quest to find and pose appropriate models, provide historically correct uniforms and dig for “historical truth” in rare documents, private collections and archeological finds.

            11:45a.m. – 1:15 p.m. Buffet Lunch

            1:30 – 2:30 p.m. SESSION III (choose one)

                        G. Archeological Story of the Valley Forge Soldier. From trash pits, hearth remnants and long abandoned company streets, a recent archeological project has unearthed thousands of artifacts from the momentous Valley Forge encampment. Archeologist Dr. Douglas Campana shows how the findings have shed a new light on the Continental Army with some surprising insights.

                        H. Loyalists in the Revolution. Dr. Judith Van Buskirk draws on family letters, diaries, memoirs, and other records to paint a rich and complex portrait of those who remained loyal to their King despite a host of risks and the clash of personal concerns, neighbors and political ideology. It is a compelling social history with a richness of human detail.

                        I.  Washington’s New Army. As the fall of 1777 drew to an end, the Continental Army was exhausted, demoralized and about to collapse. Popular author, historian and antiquarian George Neumann describes how Washington persevered to create a “professional” fighting force and emerge from the Valley Forge encampment able to meet the Crown’s troops as equals.

            3 – 4 p.m. SESSION IV (Auditorium, Valley Forge National Park)

                        J. Everybody’s Revolution.  Historian, award winning author (his acclaimed book “Liberty!” inspired the famed six-part PBS series) and television commentator, Thomas Fleming presents a portrait of our nation at the time of the Revolution and all those who had a stake in the conflict. He gives us compelling stories of courageous men and women of all cultures who sensed the coming greatness of America and made significant contributions to the struggle. What does all this in the 18th Century have to do with us? Fleming will let us know.

            4 – 5:30 p.m. Reception (Welcome Center, Valley Forge National Park)

SUNDAY, APRIL 1 (Valley Forge National Park)

            Meet many of the authors who appeared on Saturday at book signings in the Welcome Center and enjoy the Second Pennsylvania Regiment conducting living history at the Muhlenberg Hut Site along with performances of their fifes and drums. There will be ranger-led hikes and other park-wide programs, including a rare guided tour into the park’s artifact vaults conducted by George Neumann, author of the Collectors Encyclopedia of the American Revolution and other publications on 18th Century militaria.

The size of groups attending the vault tours is limited and reservations should be made in advance by calling the park’s curator at 610/783-1020.

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